Effects of leadership and leader‐member exchange on commitment

Jean Lee (Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business, Beijing, People's Republic of China)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Publication date: 1 December 2005



The present study attempts to integrate both behavioural and relational perspectives of leadership and test their applicability in determining employees' organizational commitment.


Leadership behaviours were measured using Bass and Avolio's multifactor' leadership questionnaire (MLQ) Form 5X. Liden and Maslyn's multi‐dimensional model of leader‐member exchange (LMX‐MDM) scale was used to measure the quality of relationship between respondents and their superiors. Meyer and Allen's instrument for the multidimensional organisational commitment was adopted for this study. A total of 201 research and development (R&D) professionals including engineers and scientists working in R&D department of manufacturing firms, R&D organisations, and research institutes in Singapore participated in the study.


The findings from hierarchical regression analysis reveal that transformational leadership has positive association with the dimensions of LMX and organizational commitment. LMX quality is also found to mediate the relationship between leadership and organizational commitment. R&D superiors demonstrate predominantly transformational leadership but at lower frequency than observed in past studies.

Research limitations/implications

Owing to the cross‐sectional design of this study, the data collected does not allow for an assessment of the direction of causality.

Practical implications

R&D superiors and managers in Singapore are not demonstrating enough transformational leadership despite the unpredictable and uncertain nature of R&D work environments which calls for more effective leadership. This issue can be addressed by raising the awareness of the importance of effective leadership and implementing training and development programmes incorporating leadership for these R&D professionals.


This paper is a first attempt to understand leadership and commitment among R&D professionals in Singapore.



Lee, J. (2005), "Effects of leadership and leader‐member exchange on commitment", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 26 No. 8, pp. 655-672. https://doi.org/10.1108/01437730510633728

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